Credit: Michael Vadon-Flickr

As I worked my way through the opinion pages of the Washington Post and New York Times this morning, I was struck by how blunt and harsh the tone toward the president has become. Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury,” has given a lot of people permission to say what folks like me have been saying since before the inauguration, which is that Trump is not fit to serve as president and that our nation’s highest priority must be to remove him from office. Joe Scarborough actually knows the president on a personal level, and he is honestly not convinced that Trump can read. He refers to Trump’s presidency as “indefensible,” which it is, and endorses the view floated by Steve Bannon that he has committed treason, which is a stretch.

Americans will be left with the inescapable conclusion that the president is not capable of fulfilling his duties as commander in chief.

The GOP’s defense of this indefensible president appears even more preposterous following Wolff’s revelation, in his new book, “Fire and Fury,” of former adviser Stephen K. Bannon’s observation that members of Trump’s team, including his son, committed nothing less than treason.

Most of all, Scarborough wants to shame the Republicans into removing their own “unstable” president from office

We are a nation that spent the past 100 years inventing the modern age, winning World War I, defeating Hitler and winning World War II, and liberating half of Europe by beating the Soviets in the Cold War. But today we find ourselves dangerously adrift at home and disconnected from the allies abroad that made so many of those triumphs possible. The world wonders how the United States will survive Donald Trump. And I ask, what will finally move Republicans to deliver a non-negotiable ultimatum to this unstable president? Will they dare place their country’s interests above their own political fears? Or will they move to end this American tragedy only when there is nothing left to lose?

Michelle Goldberg makes many of the same points, referring to the Trump administration as “a sick travesty.”

But most of all, the book confirms what is already widely understood — not just that Trump is entirely unfit for the presidency, but that everyone around him knows it.

According to Wolff, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, called Trump an “idiot.” (So did the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, though he used an obscenity first.) Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, compares his boss’s intelligence to excrement. The national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, thinks he’s a “dope.” It has already been reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron,” which he has pointedly refused to deny.

And yet these people continue to either prop up or defend this sick travesty of a presidency.

Wolff has struck a chord by emphasizing that everyone he talked to in the West Wing of the White House over the last year agrees that Trump is “like a child,” and that every single one of them has come to the conclusion that Trump simply cannot function in the job. In other words, Bannon may have expressed himself with the most colorful language, but his assessment of the president is the strong consensus among the people who work closely with him.

Removing a president is no small thing, and I understand that people will only do it with great reluctance. Wolff’s reporting indicates that Trump’s own cabinet should take the lead based on the 25th amendment. Essentially, if they all agree that he cannot do the job, they should do their constitutional duty and take the politics of an impeachment trial out of it. They don’t need to wait to see what Special Counsel Bob Mueller has to say because it’s not the criminality that is the primary problem at the moment. It’s the president’s lack of executive function and his apparent diminished capacity that is of the most urgent concern. Events in the world won’t wait. The Korean Peninsula could erupt in a nuclear confrontation any day and the Iranian government is being challenged in the streets. The Saudi regime is in a period of stress and turmoil, and the Israeli government is busily trying to bury the two-state solution for good. We’re entering a period of great consequence, like 1979 or 1989, and we’ll have to live with the consequences that are made by the White House for decades to come.

There’s not much more the media can do than has been done already. They’ve exposed Trump and his inability to serve as president. It’s up to the people in a position to solve this problem to solve it.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at